Pros: They take EQ very well, they are very well articulated in the highs, the bass is balanced and detailed
Cons: Mids are often masked, female vocals are hidden
Today I'm gonna be doing an initial review of the Vsonic VSD1S. These are one of my new favorite IEMs. Not because they have the best sound quality. Not because the have the best build quality. But because they combine good sound quality, and good build quality, all at a really good price (<$40). And that leads me to wonder why there are so distinctly few reviews of these headphones.
To begin the review portion, I'll speak to the elephant in the room. They have Comic Sans on them. While comic sans indeed serves a purpose, it probably shouldn't be on good headphones. But this actually serves a good purpose. I'm going into college in a few weeks, so it is safe to say that I'm going to have some malicious "young adults" stealing my well earned property. But luckily Comic Sans serves has the same qualities as a pubic hair when you put it on a valuable (see http://www.cc.com/video-clips/53l4ba/important-things-with-demetri-martin-pube-safe). No thieving youngsters for me!
The second reason I bought them for college is their durability. They are substantial. Especially compared to other IEMs built of plastic in their price bracket or even higher *COUGH Shure SE215 COUGH*. These don't have a removable cable, no. But they have damn good strain-reliefs. So I'm not worried about the connections going out any time soon. Nor am I worried about the cable fraying. It's a good cable!
But one of the coolest features of the headphones is the pivoting nozzle. This is a feature that is becoming more and more popular, but not popular enough, because it is wonderful. This leads me to comfort.
They lay relatively flush with your head when laying on your side. That being said, it's still a little uncomfortable. It comes with 3 pairs of single flange eartips, and one double. The fit for me is pretty good with the large eartip. But that's not the real problem with the fit for me. The problems are the housings themselves. They push against the ridge of my ear, right above the entrance to the canal. It's hard to describe, but it hurts after a while, then it feels fine, because it goes numb. But that being said, the build quality is much better than the comfort.
Now. Sound quality. This is where you have to take it with a grain of salt, as this is an initial review. It could sound totally different tomorrow.
Yes. Skeptics can cover their ears if they want and move to the next paragraph, but I do believe in burn-in. It is evident by the ATH IM70's. They sounded like ass... No. They sounded like free airplane earbuds from a discount airliner. Nah'so'good. But a week of burn in each night made them sound a lot less like ass, but still not great. But still! A testament to what burn-in can do!
So. What do I have to say about the sound upon the third day of having them?
First I'm just gonna get soundstage out of the way. These are earphones. They are decently wide, but not great. And the instrument separation isn't fantastic. But it's not like I'm gonna be mixing an EP with them. So give 'em a break.
And before you read any further, I'm gonna be talking about EQ settings a lot. I'm sorry audio purists, but please keep reading.
Bass is not abundant, but it is nice and balanced. But never-fear bass-heads! It handles a bass-boost like a champ! In songs like "Say My Name (feat. Zyra)" by Odesza, the bass drum initially sounds alright, but boost it and it sounds punchy but resonant. In the intro to "Tighten Up" by The Black Keys, the bass guitar sounds a little restrained, but clear nevertheless. You can hear the distortion of the amp.
Mids are there. But vocals are recessed. Especially upper range female vocals. Like in Portishead's "Glory Box". Beth Gibbons is quite masked by the lower mids. Although this is a serious bummer, I can live with it. I honestly prefer a subtle V shaped frequency response, with a tilt towards the treble. But, again, the beautiful thing about these headphones is that they handle EQ brilliantly. Boost those mids!
The highs can make or break a headphone for me. I LOOOVE clarity, perhaps a little too much. I LOOOVE an analytical, but slightly fun sound. And these headphones are decent. Better than decent, but not my favorite. They seem to have the eversopopular smoothed off highs that many have grown to love. I am not one of them. But, I know how lame this sounds, they handle EQ almost too well. In Terrence Blanchard's "Levees", the highs seemed a little too tame. But when I pushed up the highs a little, the whole experience changed. They turned from lackluster buds into sparkly and detailed IEMs.
Now. If you have read to the end of this review you may think "My god, this guy has no sense of decency when it comes to using an equalizer!" To that I say, it's because these are so good at taking it, that it makes me want to use it to make them MY earphones. They sound rather lackluster, and dry until you add it, but when I did, they made me happy.
I hope you enjoyed my first review!